The Brahma Purana

by G. P. Bhatt | 1955 | 243,464 words

This is the Brahma Purana in English (translation from Sanskrit), which is one of the eighteen Maha Puranas. The contents of this ancient Indian encyclopedic treatise include cosmology, genealogy (solar dynasty etc.), mythology, geology and Dharma (universal law of nature). The Brahma Purana is notable for its extenstive geological survey includin...

Chapter 64 - The Twelve Holy Pilgrimages and their Benefits

The sages said:

1. Mention separately the benefit which a man or a woman with perfect self-control acquires by making holy pilgrimage.

Brahmā said:

2. O brahmins, even as I recount, listen to the benefit of holy pilgrimage severally, that a man acquires after undertaking the pilgrimage to that holy centre with great restraint.

3-4. A man who undertakes pilgrimage in accordance with the injunctions, visits and bows to Kṛṣṇa, Saṃkarṣaṇa and Subhadrā at the time of Guṇḍikā, Utthānadvādaśī (twelfth day in the bright half of Kārttika), the full moon day in the month of Phālguna, and during equinoctial transit will acquire the fruit thereof separately. As Jong as the fourteen Indras reign he will stay in the world of Viṣṇu.

5. A man undoubtedly enjoys pleasures for as many Kalpas as the number of times he undertakes pilgrimages in the month of Jyeṣṭha.

6-8. A devotee should undertake pilgrimage to that sacred excellent and beautiful holy centre of Śrīpuruṣottama, which accords worldly pleasures and salvation to men and which is conducive to the pleasure of every living being. Thereafter, the devotee, whether a man or a woman shall control the sense-organs. He shall continue pilgrimages till twelve such Yātrās are completed with great concentration and mental purity. He who, thereafter, eschews stubbornness and arrogance and instals the idols shall enjoy various pleasures and in the end acquire salvation.

The sages said:

9. O Lord, we wish to hear, even as you recount, the installation and worship of the lord of the universe and the mode of these rites as well as charitable gifts and the fruits thereof.

Brahmā said:

10. O leading sages, listen to the installation of idols urged by Brahmā. By devoutly performing this, the man or the woman acquires the benefit.

11. O excellent brahmins, when the twelve pilgrimages are completed, the devotee should carry out the installation that destroy sin.

12-13. On the eleventh day in the bright half of the month of Jyeṣṭha, the devotee with concentration should go to the holy reservoir. With purity and control he should perform Ācamana and invoke holy centres and sacred waters. Meditating on Nārāyaṇa with full devotion he should perform the rite of holy dip.

14. The rite of holy bath should be performed in accordance with the injunctions prescribed by the sages in regard to him.

15. After taking holy bath perfectly in accordance with the injunction (the devotee) who is conversant with the names, Gotras (spiritual lines) and the procedure, should perform Tarpaṇa rite to Dcvas, sages and manes as well as others.

16-17. Coming out of water and wearing two newly washed and dried cloths free from impurities, he should ritualistically touch water and stand or sit facing the sun. He should repeat the holy sacred and meritorious Mantra of Gāyatrī, the mother of Vedas, the dispeller of all sins. He should repeat the holy Gāyatrī one hundred and eight time.

18. He should repeat other holy passages and Mantras pertaining to the sun with faith and concentration. After making three circumambulations he should bow down to the Sun-god.

19. In regard to the people of the first three castes the rite of holy bath and the repetition of Mantras is in the manner mentioned in the Vedas. The utterance of the Vedic passage is to be avoided by women as well as Śūdras.

20-22. The devotee shall go home silently and worship Puruṣottama after washing his hands and feet and after ritualistically touching and sipping water in accordance with the precepts. He shall bathe the Lord with ghee, milk, honey, scented water and the holy water mixed with sandal paste. Thereafter, the devotee shall dress the lord with an excellent pair of clothes with devotion. He shall smear the lord with sandal paste, Agallochum, camphor and saffron.

23. With great devotion he shall worship Lord Viṣṇu offering lotuses and other flowers pertaining to Viṣṇu (like jasmine etc.).

24. After worshipping the lord the ruler of the universe, the bestower of worldly pleasures and salvation, in this manner, he shall burn incense along with agallochum in front of the lord.

25. O excellent sages, he shall burn aromatic resin too along with scents. He shall light a lamp with devotion using ghee (instead of oil) according to the means.

26. With concentration he shall offer twelve other lamps, O excellent sages, he shall burn it with ghee or gingelly oil.

27. By way of Naivedya (food offering) he shall dedicate milk pudding, sweet Śaṣkulis, Vaṭakas (special kinds of baked or fried cakes) sweets, a little quantity of molasses and fruits too.

28. After worshipping Puruṣottama with five items of service (i.e. bathing, offering cloths, worshipping with flowers, showing lamps and incense and food offerings) the devotee shall repeat “Om obeisance to Puruṣottama” a hundred and eight times.

29-32. Then he shall devoutly propitiate lord Puruṣottama thus “Obeisance to you O lord of the worlds, O bestower of freedom from fear on the devotees, save me, O Puruṣottama, I am merged in the ocean of worldly existence. O Govinda, O lord of the Universe, may the twelve pilgrimages undertaken by me to you be perfectly completed owing to your grace”.

After propitiating the lord thus and prostrating before him like a log of wood, the devotee shall worship the preceptor by means of flowers, cloths and unguents, since, O excellent sages, there is no difference between the two.

33. With faith and concentration, O excellent sages, the devotee shall make a flowery bowerlike Maṇḍapa over the lord.

34. Thereafter, he shall resolve to keep awake at night. For this purpose he shall arrange for the discourses on the divine story of Vāsudeva or devotional songs.

35-36. The learned devotee shall pass night meditating, reading or eulogising the lord. When the twelfth day dawns he shall invite twelve Brahmins who have mastered the Vedas, who are conversant with Itihāsa and Purāṇas, who have controlled their sense-organs and who have taken holy baths signifying their successful conclusion of holy rites.

37. After taking bath perfectly in accordance with the injunctions, the devotee shall control his sense organs and put on washed (and dried) clothes. Thereafter, he shall bathe lord Viṣṇu with devotion as before.

38-39. He should worship the lord with scents, fragrant flowers, presents, Naivedyas, lights, different items of service, obeisances, circumambulations, repetitions of mantras, eulogies, propitiations, charming songs and instrumental music.

After worshipping the lord of the Universe thus, he should worship the brahmins.

40-41. With faith and devotion he should offer twelve cows, gold umbrellas, and pairs of sandals to them.

O brahmins, he should offer wealth, clothes, etc. to them with great devotion since Govinda is propitiated and honoured with emotional fervour.

42. Thereafter, he should give the preceptor a cow, cloth, gold, umbrella, pair of sandals, food-grain and bellmetal vessel with devotion.

43. He should feed brahmins. The food served should begin with milk pudding. There should be sweet cooked rice and various kinds of edibles prepared in jaggery and ghee.

44. After the brahmins have been fed to their satisfaction and their minds are at rest, he should give them twelve water pots together with sweets.

45. Devoid of revelry he should give them monetary gifts according to his capacity.

He should hand over the pot and the monetary gifts to the preceptor also.

46. O excellent brahmins, after worshipping those brahmins, he should devotedly worship his preceptor who is the bestower of perfect knowledge and who is on a par with Viṣṇu.

47. The learned devotee should honour him with gold, cloth, cow, food-grains and other articles. Thereafter, he should repeat this mantra.

48. “May Lord Puruṣottama who has neither beginning nor end, who holds conch, discus and iron club and who is the omnipresent lord of the Universe be pleased with this.

49. After uttering this mantra he should circumambulate brahmins thrice. He should bid farewell to the preceptor by bending his head with devotion.

50. Thereafter, he should follow those brahmins with devotion to the boundary of the village. Thus following them he should pay homage and bid them farewell.

51. Accompanied by kinsmen and relatives he should take meals with proper restriction on his tongue. There may be other devotees, poor people, mendicants and hungry persons in need of food, with whom he should share food.

52. By performing this rite perfectly well, the devotee whether a man or a woman should derive the benefit of thousands of horse-sacrifices and a hundred Rājasūya sacrifices.

53-57. The noble devotee will take a divine form for his departure to heaven and will redeem a hundred generations of his ancestors. He will clear the way for a hundred future generations, O brahmins. He will be richly endowed with all characteristic signs and be bedecked in all ornaments. He will have all his desires realized, he will be devoid of fever like a God. He will be richly endowed with handsome features and blooming youth. He will be embellished with all good qualities. He will be eulogised by the celestial damsels. He will be admired by the Gandharvas who will flock around him. He will go to the world of lord Viṣṇu on the aerial chariot that has a steady speed, that has the lustre and colour of the sun, that can go wherever it is desired to go and that is embellished with all sorts of jewels, flags and banners. He will become a young man of great strength. While traversing the sky he will illuminate the quarters and will not suffer from fatigue. He will grow intelligent.

58-65. In the world of Viṣṇu he will enjoy pleasures in consonance with his desires for the period of a hundred Kalpas. He will stay there devoid of sickness and fever. He will be eulogised by Siddhas, Apsaras, Gandharvas, Devas, Vidyādharas, Nāgas and sages.

O brahmins, he will assume a form with four arms joyfully like Viṣṇu, the lord of the universe, holding conch, discus and iron-club. He will enjoy excellent pleasures there and sport with Devas. Then he will come to the abode of Brahmā that bestows all desires and that is beautified by Siddhas, Vidyādharas, Devas and Kinnaras. He will enjoy there for a period of ninety Kalpas. O leading brahmins, from that he will come to the world of Rudra who bestows the desired benefits to the world which is frequented by Devas, which bestows happiness and salvation, which is adorned with hundreds and thousands of lofty mansions, which is beautified by Siddhas, Vidyādharas Yakṣas, Daityas and Dānavas. The man enjoys happiness there for the period of eighty Kalpas. At its conclusion he goes to the world of rays, Goloka which is equipped with all pleasures and which is charming, being adorned by Devas, Siddhas and Apsaras.

66-71. For a period of seventy Kalpas he enjoys there such excellent pleasures as are difficult of attainment in the three worlds. He is as steady-minded as an immortal being. From these he comes to the excellent world of Prajāpati. He is surrounded by Gandharvas, Apsaras, Siddhas, sages and Vidyādharas.

For a period of sixty Kalpas, he enjoys various pleasures there. At its conclusion he goes to the abode of Indra equipped with different miracles. He is surrounded by Gandharvas, Kinnaras, Siddhas, Devas, Vidyādharas, Nāgas, Guhyakas, Apsaras, Sādhyas and other excellent Devas. After coming there he enjoys happiness for a period of fifty Kalpas. From these he goes to the world of Devas beautified by lofty places. It is sacred, difficult of access and beautified by Devas. The intelligent devotee enjoys for forty Kalpas. Then he comes to the world of Nakṣatras which is also difficult of access.

72. For a period of thirty Kalpas he enjoys excellent pleasures there as he wishes. From there, O excellent brahmins, he comes to the world of the moon.

73-74. He enjoys the rarest of pleasures for a period of twenty Kalpas in that world where the moon shines splendidly in the company of all Devas. Then he comes to the world of the sun-god which is honoured by Devas, which is divine, which is full of wonderful miracles and which is surrounded by Gandharvas and Apsaras.

75. O excellent brahmins, after enjoying splendid pleasures there for a period of ten Kalpas he comes to the world of Gandharvas which is most difficult of access.

76. After enjoying various pleasures to the fullest satisfaction for the period of a Kalpa, he comes to the earth and becomes a virtuous king.

77-78. He becomes an Emperor of great vigour embellished by noble qualities. After ruling over the kingdom virtuously, and after performing sacrifices where as much monetary gift is distributed he goes to the world of Yogins that is auspicious and bestower of liberation. There he enjoys excellent pleasure till the ultimate dissolution of all living beings. From there he comes to the world of mortals and is born in an excellent family of Yogins. O brahmins he is born in an excellent family of a devotee of Viṣṇu, which is difficult of access and is approved of by good men. He becomes an excellent brahmin mastering four vedas. He performs sacrifices with due monetary gifts. He adopts Yoga pertaining to Viṣṇu and attains liberation.

Thus, O brahmin, the benefit of pilgrimages has been perfectly cited by me. It yields worldly pleasures and liberation to men. What else do you wish to hear?

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